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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

Simply put, the key to happiness is to stop looking for the freaking key to happiness.

The fact is, the doors have never been locked up in the first place.  There is nothing to wait for.  You can open the doors to that sort of life anytime you choose.

Maybe you have lofty goal and plans.  So do I.  Trust me, if you could see the vision of my life that is taking shape right now, I know  a lot of you would wonder at my sense of reality and sanity.

That’s okay.  I get it. I’m dreaming really big these days and not everyone is ready for that.  I think I’ll just let them wonder until they see me taking strides and steps and moving closer and closer.  After all, showing is far more believable than telling right?

Still, I’m really happy today too.  I’m not going to sit around waiting on something to ‘let’ me be happy.  Or for some magical goal to get crossed off, or threshold to be crossed or please…certainly not for the proverbial knight in shining armor to come ’round and save the day.

Seriously.  Why wait?  There really isn’t anything you need to wait for!  I’ve discovered that happiness isn’t a destination anyway.  It’s not something you can go out and get.  And you can never use it all up.

There is only one thing you have to do to find your own happiness.  Choose it.

Allow yourself to decide that you are already happy.  Be grateful for all the blessings you have in your life and love your people right here today.

It’s always been within you, waiting for you to let it loose and choose to jump in with both feet.

happyIf you want to be happy, then be happy.

Start by smiling.  Too many of us don’t smile because we wonder what others will think.  You know what they will think?  Wow, she’s such a happy person.  And then they will wonder how they to can be happy just like you; and maybe, just maybe they will start smiling too.

Then look what you did.  You are a carrier of the happiness virus and you are spreading it all over the freakin place.

I’m not sure when humanity got everything so bloody mixed up.  We all say we want to feel happy and joy and love.  Yet, we hesitate, we worry about reactions and we push down those feelings so they don’t get out of hand.  That makes no sense.  We celebrate and admire those who are postitive people that make life joyous, yet we are hesitant to allow ourselves to do the same.

Don’t you find it weird we all seem to think that negative emotions like sadness, anger and frustrations are okay to be talked about and seem to be more socially accepted?  And a lot of the time we feel the need to keep our happiness and joyful feelings ‘under control’ or dampened?  Like we don’t want to bother anyone with them?

Okay so it’s your turn.  I’d love to hear your take on why that is in the comments below.

 

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so-what-is-joy-anywayWhat is joy?  The online dictionary defines it as “A feeling of great pleasure and happiness”.

This is not how I would have defined joy.  I think it’s so much more than that.  It reaches far deeper than just feeling  happy.

Happiness, in my view is a reaction to events that are unfolding or remembered.  It is a wonderful feeling.  Just as sadness is a reaction to events.  These are emotional responses.

I think of joy as more of an attitude and a way we can approach life.

Joy is what we have when we learn to find the good in all things.  When we live in gratitude, we cultivate joy.

Joy comes from the wisdom to know the difference between what matters and what can be released back to the universe.

A few years ago I learned how joy can be found even in the midst of the worst experiences.  Actually I should scrap that…it isn’t found, in all truth it is really brought with you because it comes from deep within us.

Someone very close to me passed away quite suddenly.  I had never experienced such incredible depths of pain in my life.  The emptiness, loss and grief were almost too much to handle.  And yet, I was in such gratitude for the time we did have together, the lessons taught, the love freely given.  It was then I realized that the reason the loss hurt so much was because of all that I had been blessed with.

There was joy in that.

When you hold joy in your heart it’s much easier to be grateful and to live in the present.   There were times when I was physically unable to work due to a car accident that I wasn’t sure how I would eat.  Sometimes people asked me how I could still have such a good attitude towards life.

The truth is I think we all have to head down our own roads and along the way we are going to have some dark nights.  I heard someone say that we all take a trip down the rabbit hole at some point and I kind of love that expression.

You have choice just like Alice did when she went down the rabbit hole and had to wander in Wonderland.  She had many times when the choice was to do nothing and stay stuck, or eat the cookie and see what happens.

I think when you approach life with an attitude of joy, you would eat the cookie.  You realize life happens and there is a lot of opportunity to experiment with it if you only have some faith in yourself and in that the world is essentially a good place with lots of wonderful people in it.

Joyful people talk and act differently.  They approach everything they do with a positive attitude, even the hard things. They build people up rather than tear them down and speak in an uplifting way.  They live from a place of love rather than fear.

You see ‘joy’ is within us.  It’s a choice, a lifestyle even.  When we take our trip down the rabbit hole, we bring it with us and we only have to choose to embrace it.  This is why some people can find peace even among chaos.

It’s my thinking that being able to hold joy in your heart is a sort of wisdom; a deeper understanding of the connectedness of life and all that is in it.

What would it mean for you to make a commitment to choosing to live with an attitude of joy?

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“Need” thinking seems to be getting more people in trouble these days.

What is need thinking you might be wondering.   Ah..this is all about word power once again.

You see there is a very big difference between wanting something and needing it.

And sometimes it can be really tough to tell the difference; especially when it comes to what our hearts feel.

What we need and what we want.  It’s goes back to being mindful and self-aware.  I think the surge of ‘in your face, every moment of every day’ marketing has shifted our thoughts on need and want.  We are getting it mixed up and it’s starting to wear us out and mess us up.

What do we need?

Shelter, food, love, compassion…these are needs.

What do we want?  Oh my…loads of things right?  From houses, to shoes to an old boyfriend or girlfriend.

There is nothing wrong with wanting things I suppose it is human nature after all.  Heck, even my dog Charlie ‘wants’ things sometimes.  The trick is to understand where the drive is coming from and temper it with a bigger ‘end’ goal.

I see many of my friends who have trouble with their wants and needs.  They don’t ask themselves how it fits into their bigger goals in life.  A really simple example is a friend who won’t go to the doctor for a recheck on a serious problem because it will cost money.  At the same time, almost the same breath this person tells me all about the great stuff they got on clearance…none of which they needed or even wanted before they saw it.  And in the same conversation they are talking about the sales on this weekend.

My head was spinning trying to figure out a way to point out this glaring gap in common sense…your health is far more important than more ‘stuff’ dont’ you think?

But, how many of us will sacrifice some or part of our needs in order to fulfill momentary wants?  I caught myself thinking about this when the price of my favorite fruit went up considerably. I almost didn’t but it but suddenly realized that their were things in my cart I didn’t really even want and probably won’t eat much of – but they were on sale.  Does that make sense?  Nope.  Those things went back on the shelf and I bought my fruit.

This type of need thinking creates homes and offices full of stuff.  We want it, but we think we need it.  We get caught up in the pull and end up living in clutter.  Even organized clutter isDo tell... still clutter.

How many of us complain we need more room, less clutter or to get organized?  Really?  Or maybe we need less stuff that doesn’t matter in our life.  My new policy is I can think things are beautiful or amazing in the store – but I don’t have to bring it home with me.

I have 2 criteria.

  1. Is it functional?  Does it replace something I used that is broken?  Will it save me time/energy/money and I will USE it often?
  2. Is it beautiful?  By this I mean does it lift my spirit? Will I be able to place it somewhere I will find it bringing a smile to my face each day?  Knick-knacks that get put in a cupboard don’t do this.
  3. Combine the 2 criteria and we’ve got something worthwhile!

These criteria help me stop the spontaneous buying…even with shoes!  I kid you not.

It also helps that I have learned to be so very thankful for all that I do have.  I cannot fill my heart with stuff, even if buying something makes me feel good for the moment; that feeling is very fleeting.  But graitude – now that is something you can fill a heart with.

There is a theory that when we clear out and clean up the mess in our living spaces we bring peace and harmony into our homes.  This allows us to find more peace in our inner worlds too.  Messes stress us out, we subconsciously don’t enjoy living in that place.  Ohh..I just realized “mess stress” is an awesome term to describe this effect!

What do you think? Would clearing out some clutter in your physical world bring you some peace in your inner world?

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I read an article yesterday about some scientists who wanted to see if “The Secrets” self-help technique worked. Unfortunately I am not convinced the scientists actually read the book.  Or if they did I don’t think they quite ‘got’ it. 

To quote the article their premise was:

“The researchers wanted to see how people cope with four different challenges that life throws at us: getting a job, finding a partner, doing well in an exam and undergoing surgery (hopefully not all at the same time).

Across four studies the researchers examined how people thought about each of these challenges. They measured how much they fantasized about a positive outcome and how much they expected a positive outcome.”

They claimed that fantasies before attempting a goal, made people actually find less success.”  That said they really didn’t explain what success was.  Sure I may have accepted a lower salary job but perhaps it offered opportunities that others didn’t.   They said participants who used visualization applied for less jobs as well – that could makes sense.  When you know what you want why would you waste your time?  I think life just isn’t as simply measured as these scientists think.  They forgot to look at one very important factor…the WHY.

“They then tested the participants’ blood pressure — which indicates how much energy their body is giving them to perform a certain task — and found that people who were induced with fantastical thoughts had lower levels of energy than those who weren’t.”  This was assumed to mean that participants were feeling like they didn’t have to try hard anymore thus explaining why they didn’t do as well (ie. applied for fewer jobs, accepted less salary).  I think the assumptions may have been jumped on here.  Calming the body is a good thing when you are in a high stress situation. I myself have used visualization when I was competing in races and I know many athletes who use this to focus – successful ones.

Putting yourself in the correct mindset can change everything.  Fantasy doesn’t do that.  Self awareness and choice does.
 
I don’t think using real manifesting and visualization techniques in a lab is a true test.  It takes a lot of time and practice and mindset shifts to truly shift your energy.  One go at itknowyoruself certainly won’t change much. 
For the record, Fantasy and visualization are not the same thing.  Expectations of success can be wildly different and change often.  Add into the fact that no one who has a clue, has ever suggested that simply thinking about a ‘new boat’ will make it magically appear. You still have to DO THE WORK. 

Manifesting your life is not about sitting around and fantasising and pretending. 

It is about choosing where to put your thoughts, your energy and your focus.  

It’s about changing the energy that your internal beacon is giving off so that you attract things into you life that you want to be there.

It’s about awareness of your actions and the opportunities that come your way.  It’s about recognizing those opportunities for what they are.

Sorry guys but I think your premise is lacking and your testing is missing some key important elements.  Personal experience also has taught me that when used properly visualization is a powerful tool towards transformation. 

Interestingly enough they did find that what they call positive thinking made for a happier person overall – but not success.   I had to shake my head.  If being happy in your life today, as it is, isn’t success…then what is?

 

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(I know this is a bit early but the message is timely and important to hear – thanks for your understanding of my little deviation from my regular Tues/Fri post)

That title is no mistake. I am asking you to let go of some of your own crap and simply be present, not A present, to your family this year.

Too often we get caught up in all there is to do at this time of year. I am as guilty of it as anyone.  I love to host dinners and parties for my loved ones but once the day came I was a freakin mess!

No kidding.

It was stress.  It made me grumpy and frustrated and annoyed with those who were messing stuff up.  Not the guests…people who were ‘helping me.  And then guess what? I’d get ticked off that I was doing all the work and everyone had disappeared.  Well, looking back I dont’ think I’d want to be with me either.  I wasn’t exactly very jolly.  This was a pattern of behaviour I had learned from watching my parent.  I didn’t much like it as a kid, and I didn’t like it in ME as an adult

So I spent some time looking deeper within myself to figure out what the problem really was.  vic017

Self Worth.

Shoot, that thing is everywhere isn’t it?

Truth is I had learned somewhere along the line that things needed to be perfect for everyone else or I felt that I’d be deemed ‘unworthy’. 

Not an easy truth to throw out with the trash. It sort of permeated every part of my life.  Still, I had to start somewhere right? The holidays were a huge source of this stress so it seem brilliant to begin there.

So I stopped trying to be perfect.  Okay..mostly.  But I can deal with the fall out much better if I’m not and I did let go of the control I felt before.  In doing so I allowed myself to be present in the moments I was missing out on before.

The holidays are NOT about busting your budgets, running yourself ragged or wearing yourself out.  No one should be feeling that way unless they are getting paid a HUGE salary.  Last I checked I didn’t get a dime for making all that food or searching out and buying all those gifts or even gift wrapping them.

Those things should be done with love and laughter.  Share the load.  You deserve to be immersed in the joyful celebrations too.  So I say gather everyone up and let them know you expect some pitching in.  I always recommend letting them know what jobs need to be done and asking which they are signing up for rather than assigning duties. 

Put on some rocking Christmas tunes, (try Grooveshark and everyone can pick a few!)  sing a long while you wash the pots and clean up the wrapping paper.  Have some FUN.  Then when all the chores are done be sure to have another type of gathering. Once full of love, gratitude and celebration.

A gratitude circle is a wonderful way to end the day.  I actually used to do this to promote harmony in my classroom.   Each person says something they are grateful for about another person.  In the family I think it would be lovely to have them say what they are grateful for with each member.  Bit of advice though; let them know in advance because putting someone on the spot is just hard on many folks.  I would allow notes even!

My big point is this…the holidays create so many joyous and warm memories that we can hold onto in tougher times.  Be mindful to be part of creating those memories. Slow the day down and be present in the moments that matter.

Many Blessing for Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah and all the other beautiful celebration going on you may be part of .

Warm hot chocolate hugs,

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I have noticed that lots of people are really excited about living a life based on gratitude.  Especially around Thanksgiving.

Is that enough? Is it enough to spend one (maybe even a few) days recognizing and focusing on everything we have to be grateful for.

It’s a start, but not really ‘enough’.

We forget quickly in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holidays and dealing with pageants, wrapping, lists and oh my goodness…crazy right?  On one hand the holidays are a strong reminder of why we should be grateful and on the other hand they are really Really good at distracting us from that very thing.

Someone mentioned to me that it’s too bad we can’t keep that feeling we get from Thanksgiving and Christmas all year.

Um…why can’t we?  We get to choose what we focus on and if we love the warm, loving feeling we get from being thankful and surrounded by our family then why aren’t we pointing ourselves towards that very thing every, single, freaking day?

We get distracted right?  That my dear and lovely friends is an excuse for choosing where you’ve put your energy.

I mean, crap days happen.  Bad stuff happens.  And we have to deal with the piles of mundane stuff too; but you know what?  If we spent half as much energy ensuring we lived with a grateful heart and that we were loving towards our families, as we do making sure we don’t miss an episode of our favorite shows, we probably wouldn’t have to bother reading this blog. 

I know I’m about to ruffle some feathers, but if you feel like you only have a grateful, loving emotional state during the holidays – well, that’s on you.  Good news though! You can change it so more of your time  is spent feeling those happy, warm, cozy emotions; just like you do when sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner or around the Christmas tree (and I’m not talking about the wine!).  Big truth…YOU have to be the one to decide to do something about it.  And then you have to actually DO those things.

I was listening to a meditation of gratitude by Davidji and he mentions using the holidays to re-dedicate ourselves to gratitude.  I connected with that so deeply because I think it’s wonderful to have a special day to celebrate something as meaningful as giving Thanks for all we have; but I don’t think it should be left to a holiday to live that way.

So, because I’m can (lol) I’m asking YOU to re-dedicate yourself to living in gratitude.  Let me know you too want to live from a heart filled with compassion, kindness and gratitude for all the days in the year below.  Will you take up this challenge?

For the record –> I, Bonnie, take up the challenge to re-dedicate myself to gratitude and choose to live my whole life from a grateful, compassionate heart. 

Blessings

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This past weekend I was reminded of the difference between living a life of true Gratitude and being Grateful.

I know, I know.  You’re probably thinking “nitpicking at words again Bonnie?”  But stay with me okay?  Sometimes getting to the nitty-gritty of what a word or phrase means in contrast to another similar idea can help us understand better or even just clarify things for us.

To me Grateful is what you are when you remember to say thank you to others for the things they have done for you or gifts you have been given.

It’s when you show appreciation for kindness given and you are able to show thanks.

Living a life of Gratitude hImageas a deeper meaning in my eyes.  It’s when you can appreciate everything in your life – the good and bad – as a gift or blessing.

A silly, but actually rather good example of this happened just recently.  I was reminded that in everything it all comes down to how we choose to view and relate from our minds and hearts.
Even this!

It’s been rather cold here in my area.  We aren’t used to really cold weather.  Rain – oh yes! But not the clear cold that was around the past few days.  To be honest I really enjoyed it. I think the rain can wear out your patience after a while and seeing the sun no matter how cold can perk you right up.

The point is the heat in my place is electric baseboards so the air gets SUPER dry and I usually end up with dry skin that is uncomfortable if I don’t take care.  (Stay with me…lol this isn’t a skin care lesson I promise).

Add to that I did a lot of cooking and cleaning and my hands were painfully dried out.  I started to complain about it and a thought suddenly slammed me really hard.  Complain?  Stop and think about that it said.

So, I did.

Yes, I stopped and listened to that voice.

It occurred to me I was missing the gratitude. No…not for the rough dry hands exactly, but for the heat I had in my condo <- a blessing.  For the food I was cooking <- blessing.  For the place I had and the supplies I had to clean it <– blessing.  For the hands that might hurt a little but work well for me <– blessing.

The last big blessing I realized is that while I may have uncomfortable skin at the moment, I also was blessed with the hand cream to soothe it.

So…if you’re keeping score there that’s one problem that came with what? 5? 6? blessings?

Not bad at all right?

You see, life is never going to be perfect.  You can win a billion dollars and still have problems. Just different ones than someone who is just barely making ends meet.  Those billionaire problems aren’t yours to solve on your life path.  You’re stuff is all you need to be worrying about.  Your gifts and blessings are what you need to be grateful for in this life to create a life of real gratitude.

You can’t expect perfection or a perfect life. It’s only foolishness to think so.  However, you can focus your thoughts and energy on the blessings in your life and be grateful and humbled by them.

Me? I’m also grateful for all of you.  I learn so much from your comments, emails and other blogs that I really believe you are all gifts to this universal shift in energy.

I’m grateful right now also for my cracked skin.  It reminds me that I have many other wonderful things in my life.  Of course I’ll also be honest…I’m super grateful for that hand cream!

Blessings

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